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By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, Jan 17: The use of below-specification geotextiles in road projects in Sarawak could have led to incidents of infrastructure collapse and landslide along the Pan Borneo Highway project.
Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong wondered if the state Public Works Department (JKR) had adhered to guidelines as prescribed by the Works Ministry, particularly in the use of geotextile materials.
The Democratic Action Party (DAP) lawmaker claimed to have stumbled upon interesting findings with regards to the use of dubious and below-specification materials for the construction of roads across the state, which could affect the integrity of the infrastructure’s foundation.
“We have found out that in JKR Sarawak’s tender documents, they have ignored the proper guidelines when it comes to the usage of geotextiles. JKR Sarawak contravened guidelines of road construction in Malaysia.
“In their tender documents, it did not specify mandatory use of local geotextiles, and this could have given a loophole for contractors to source for alternatives.
“We have acquired information from reliable sources that some contractors of JKR projects had procured geotextiles from China, Taiwan and South Korea although they were for projects not related to the Pan Borneo Highway,” she told a press conference here today.
However, Yong said JKR Sarawak needed to ensure that geotextile products used in road projects across the state must be “Made in Malaysia” to ensure roads or slope foundation and integrity are not compromised.
Geotextile is one of the most important components for road foundations. Such materials are used to minimise the effect of sinkage and breaking up of roads.
In Sarawak, where there is much peat soil, it is especially pertinent to ensure that geotextiles of high quality are being used, she pointed out.
Yong explained that the ministry’s guidelines and JKR Contract Form clearly stipulated mandatory use of locally manufactured materials unless they have been found to be of lower quality.
She added that JKR uses Standard Specification for Road Works Malaysia (SSRW) as part of their tender documents. Within the SSRW, it was also stated that construction materials manufactured in Malaysia are mandatory.
“As to why JKR Sarawak is not adhering to the guidelines, only for reasons best known to them.
“It is important for JKR Sarawak to come clean and explain what is going on. Who changed the guidelines in the tender documents? We will not allow JKR Sarawak to fool the people of Sarawak as all these projects are using taxpayers’ money to implement,” she emphasised. — DayakDaily